The Heritage Foundation held a panel [today] titled “Busting the Myth of Green Jobs” to show that the experience of Spain is “more a cautionary tale than a blueprint for success.” Instead of showcasing the views of unbiased academics and economists, the Heritage Foundation put forth a panel of individuals financially connected to ExxonMobil.
Conservatives hate the notion of green clean energy jobs because their entire anti-science, anti-climate, anti-environment message is built around the (false) notion of a trade-off between reducing pollution and jobs (see “Mything in action: Why conservatives hate green clean energy jobs“). If you don’t care about the health and well-being of future generations, you certainly don’t care if they have good jobs (or any jobs, for that matter).
President Obama has cut through conservative myths better than anyone: “The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy. The choice we face is between prosperity and decline… We can allow climate change to wreak unnatural havoc across the landscape, or we can create jobs working to prevent its worst effects…. The nation that leads the world in creating new energy sources will be the nation that leads the 21st-century global economy.”
The Heritage Foundation, the leading think tank of the conservative movement stagnation, is so retrograde that they even oppose energy efficiency. They are conservatives who don’t want to conserve anything except a status quo that is inherently unsustainable. And so it is no surprise that Heritage held a panel today, “Busting the Myth of Green Jobs.” And it is no surprise that they are pushing a study about the Spanish experience that the Regional Minister of Innovation, Enterprise and Employment for the Government of Navarre has debunked (see here and below). Perhaps the only surprise is that Heritage couldn’t find a researcher who wasn’t bought and paid for by ExxonMobil, as the researchers at Media Matters documented in a post first published here:
The Entire Heritage Foundation Panel Received Money From ExxonMobil
The Panel: “Join Dr. Calzada, along with Institute for Energy Research (IER) economist Robert Murphy, York College (Pa.) professor Tom Bogart, and Heritage energy analyst Ben Lieberman, to explore the lessons of Spain, and examine some of the fundamental flaws in the green jobs-as-an-economic-salve line of argument.” [Heritage Foundation, accessed 5/4/09]
The ENTIRE PANEL Received Money From ExxonMobil.
Dr. Gabriel Calzada, Professor, King Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain:
The lead writer for Wall Street Journal’s Environmental Capital blog wrote: “And just where did that study come from? Professor Gabriel Calzada is the founder and president of the Fundacion Juan de Mariana, a libertarian think tank founded in 2005. He’s also a fellow of the Center for New Europe, a Brussels-based libertarian think tank that in recent years apparently accepted funding from Exxon Mobil.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/30/09; emphasis added]
Robert Murphy, Economist, Institute for Energy Research [IER]:
Almost 10% of the Institute for Energy Research’s 2007 budget was provided by ExxonMobil. [ExxonMobil 2007 Worldwide Giving Report, accessed 5/4/09; IER 2008 Year in Review; 5/4/09]
[It's worth adding that the President of IER is one Robert Bradley "who previously served as Director of Public Policy Analysis at Enron, where he was a speechwriter for CEO Kenneth Lay," who was "convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges on May 25, 2006.]
William T. “Tom” Bogart, Professor of Economics, York (Pa.) College:
Bogart’s recent article Green Jobs Myths “was produced with support from the Institute for Energy Research,” who as noted above receives significant funding from ExxonMobil. [Center for American Progress Action Fund, 3/25/09]
Ben Lieberman, Host, Senior Policy Analyst, Energy and Environment, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, the Heritage Foundation:
Heritage receives significant financial support from Exxon. In the organization’s 2008 annual report Exxon is listed as a Premier Associate signifying a contribution of at least $50,000. [Heritage Foundation Annual Report 2008]
The debunking of the attack on the Spanish experience with clean energy jobs, first published by Wonk Room here, is reprinted below:
In a new letter, an official from the region powering Spain’s renewable industry calls “completely untrue” a study critical of green jobs in his country being promoted today by the Heritage Foundation. The study, from the libertarian think tank Fundacion Juan de Mariana, argued that “for every green job created [in Spain], 2.2 jobs are lost.” Before today’s Heritage event, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Fox News, Western Business Roundtable, National Review, and the American Enterprise Institute have all cited this Spanish study. However, Jos© Mara Roig Aldasoro, the Regional Minister of Innovation, Enterprise and Employment for the Government of Navarre responds that green investment “has created wealth, employment and technological development” in Spain:
An article was published recently which has placed a doubt in renewable energy’s ability to create employment; it states that it destroys employment, and therefore, is a factor in the social impoverishment of a country. As I will demonstrate, this statement is completely untrue. In Navarre, the development of renewable energies, and above all wind energy, has created wealth, employment and technological development, and I can assert that this can be achieved in any other region or country.
Aldasoro explains the actual history of green job creation in Navarre:
- 1994: Unemployment at 12.8%, first wind farm erected.
- 1998: Unemployment at 10%, 100 installed megawatts of wind power.
- 2001: Unemployment at 6.8%, two R&D and worker-training centers are opened.
- 2007: Unemployment of 4.76%, total of 100 new renewable-energy companies created, representing 5% of total GDP.
The report relies on bad numbers, grossly underestimating that Spain’s renewable program created only 50,000 jobs, when official estimates are 188,000. Indeed, the study is claiming that “government spending on renewable energy is less than half as efficient at job creation as private-sector spending,” the Wall Street Journal’s Keith Johnson explains. Critics neglect to say that “Spain’s support for renewable energy came out of existing tax revenues,” so “it’s hard to see how it could have edged out private-sector spending, especially when the Socialist government there has reduced corporate income-tax rates, most recently this past January.”
Yet the Heritage Foundation chose to host the author of this flawed report, Dr. Gabriel Calzada, at an event entitled “Busting the Myth of Green Jobs.” Calzada was joined by Robert Murphy, from the Institute for Energy Research, a fossil-fuel industry think tank, and York College professor William T. “Tom” Bogart, who co-authored a paper for the Institute of Energy Research that called green jobs a “Ponzi scheme.” Heritage, which recently compared green economic reform to Nazi-Soviet collectivism, is continuing its slide into irrelevance.
The reality is that investment in renewable energy sectors creates millions more jobs than does investment in traditional energy sectors, because investment can flow into employing people instead of extracting fuel to burn. The Apollo Alliance reports that “renewable energy creates more jobs than coal: the same investment creates 50% more jobs in wind and in solar than in coal. Energy efficiency is far more labor intensive than generation, creating 21.5 jobs for every $1 million invested, compared to 11.5 jobs for new natural gas generation.” According to a Greenpeace International and European Renewable Energy Council study, building a green economy that would cut United States greenhouse emissions by 45% by 2030 would create a net 7.8 million jobs versus business as usual.
Download the complete letter from Navarre Minister Aldasoro.